The time has come: a brilliant team of MIT engineers worked together to build a car that can also — wait for it — fly! The Transition, as it was named, began development in 2006 and after years of hard work the FAA has finally stamped the vehicle with its approval.
I was curious why approval would be any different than a Cessna or similar plane, and after digging around I found more info. MotorTrend stated that: “Classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, Terrafugia needed special FAA accommodation due to the Transition’s curb weight. Tipping the scales at 1430 pounds, the Transition is actually 110 pounds over the legal limit for an LSA, but was deemed flight-worthy due to the extra pounds allotted for on-road safety equipment, including airbags and crumple zones.” To me, as a car buff, I find it very interesting to see a 1,430 pound car that’s also a plane — that’s lighter than most race cars. But, then again, I assume the Transition must be very light to gain altitude.
The ingenious team behind the Transition “was founded in 2006 by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA’s – who also happen to be passionate private pilots. The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation. The result: the Transition® Roadable Aircraft” according to www.terrafugia.com, the team/company’s official website.
For all that want to own a Terrafugia Transition® Roadable Aircraft, you’re in luck! With FAA approval, the Transition is closer to being available to the public with a sticker price of $194,000 which, relatively speaking, ain’t too bad.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid if you see a car take flight from the highway 5-10 years from now. I’m not sure that will happen, but it sure would be cool if it did.
The Brainchild Group
|Cruise: 100 kts (115 mph)
Rotate: 70 kts (80 mph)
Stall: 45 kts (51 mph)
Range: 400nm (460 mi)
Takeoff over 50′ obstacle: 1700′
|Fuel burn: 5 gph
Fuel tank: 20 gallons
Useful Load: 430 lbs
On road: 30 mpg, highway speeds
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)